Whether it’s building a boat, refitting a fixer-upper, or actually cruising, the bottom line is always going to be what you can or can’t afford. As much as we might prefer otherwise, the bottom line is always going to be with us.
Living in a consumerist society is problematic where budgets are concerned. After all, consumers are supposed to consume in some sort of consumerism prime directive so the answer to just about any question is to throw money at it and, boy howdy, anything to do with boats is an awesome opportunity to spend money.
Personally, I’ve never felt that money was a very good answer where most important things are concerned. Sure, it’s a pretty good social lubricant to get along in a society that values money and possessions over the individual. How is it that a good person is considered not as good as a bad person because of his bank balance?
So yeah, we’re talking about boats right?
There’s a Reuel Parker design I’d love to build and it’s one of my top designs in my “small boat to retire on” file. It looks like this…
Parker designed this scow sloop as a budget best-bang-for-the-buck design. The materials involved can all be bought at your local lumber yard and local purveyor of epoxy and glass with no exotic materials involved. All labor is doable by the builder with no need to resort to marine professionals. It’s a simple boat and the cost of building it reflects that.
As it happens, I came across a mention of said design on a forum where someone asked what the boat would cost to build. One response really opened my eyes…
“Conversationally, having a boat like that built is probably $300K-$400K, depending upon level of finish and type of fit out. So, again, from the hip, figure $150K or so to build it DIY. I grant that this is unscientific, but I believe that the above numbers represent a fair test of your wallet and resolve.”
Now, since it’s a boat I might actually build and I’ve have done a lot of homework amd know that the aforementioned budget of a $150K bears no relationship to the actual cost of building this boat. It is a great illustration of how not doing your homework and math, results in a situation where spending silly money becomes part of the matrix and ignores what should be reality.
It’s a boat so it has to be expensive!
The fact that just about everything related to sailboats and cruising is inflated to a point where it’s downright criminal is a given, but with a little thought and study you can avoid most of it.
Doing your homework is a major part of successfully getting a boat project in the water and sailing. Researching possible cruising routes and areas is the difference between being on a negative or sustainable budget. All you have to do is use your brain rather than your wallet or credit cards.
The funny thing is a lot of those folks cruising on expensive boats and throwing money around like drunken sailors are actually worse off than those cruising on slim budgets. Same goes for those building and refitting on sustainable budgets within their means as opposed to those with big expensive projects and need to get on Patreon so others can subsidize their projects.
Knowing what you can afford and managing your life in a way that makes sense where budgets are concerned is maybe the most important factor in successful boat projects and cruising. It’s not about what you spend but rather about spending smart.
More on the subject come Monday.